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'In Mother Russia only Putin gets an umbrella' - Viewers bemused by President's World Cup 'power move'

Putin was shielded from the rain – but Macron and the Croatian leader got drenched.

RUSSIA HAS BEEN praised in recent weeks for a well-organised, smoothly-run World Cup.

So it came as something of a surprise this evening that officials had seemingly neglected to bring along a few extra umbrellas for the presentation ceremony, as France claimed its first victory in the tournament in 20 years.

At first, it appeared President Vladimir Putin would be the only leader on the podium provided with an umbrella amid a post-match downpour in Moscow.

Alongside him, Emmanuel Macron’s suit darkened along a scale from damp to drenched as he shook hands and greeted players from his victorious French team and the runners up from Croatia.

Croatian leader Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Fifa boss Gianni Infantino also continued with the formalities – apparently unperturbed by the lack of any particular effort to shield them from the rain.

The ceremony continued as you might expect. None of the three other leaders appeared to offer much by way of complaint, and, eventually, someone managed to rustle up a few umbrellas (smaller ones) for the visiting guests.

Given his reputation for strongarm tactics and diplomatic mindgames, many Twitter users reckoned the lack of protection for anyone else but Putin fit in pretty well with his political persona.

France v Croatia - FIFA World Cup 2018 - Final - Luzhniki Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

Macron and Putin had a meeting ahead of the final, but a spokesperson for the French leader said yesterday that the situation in Ukraine had not evolved enough for Macron to invite Putin to the next G7 meeting taking place in Biarritz next summer.

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Congrats

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has tweeted his congratulations to France in the wake of the country’s World Cup victory.

Trump also congratulated Putin for what he described as “a truly great World Cup Tournament — one of the best ever!”.

Trump is on his way to a summit meeting with Putin in the Finnish capital of Helsinki. He departed Scotland this afternoon after spending two nights at his Turnberry golf resort, and is due to meet with Putin tomorrow.

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Tomorrow’s summit will offer the two leaders the chance to get the measure of each other on an array of fronts including Syria, Ukraine and nuclear disarmament.

- Includes reporting from AFP 

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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